Man of Steel broke the June record for a box office debut and has raked in more than $400 million in ticket sales as of this writing. But is the payoff worth it? Fool contributor Tim Beyers says DC Entertainment parent Time Warner (NYSE:TWX.DL) is taking a big risk by making Superman unrecognizable at times during the film.
A darker tale, spun by director Zack Snyder with help from screenwriter David S. Goyer and executive producer Christopher Nolan, Man of Steel saw a 65% drop in grosses in its second weekend, according to data compiled by Box Office Mojo.
Could it be because Henry Cavill's Superman is no boy scout? Unlike the common legend of the hero who stands for "truth, justice, and the American way," Snyder and Goyer show us a shy, confused, and angry "hero" who transforms into a living weapon of mass destruction on screen, Tim says.
Audiences say they enjoy the film. Of the more than 81,000 to rate it at Rotten Tomatoes, 82% say they like it. Iron Man 3 earns a similar score, but on more than 200,000 ratings.
Meanwhile, Man of Steel is left to contend with another surprise Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) hit, Monsters University, as it continues its run in theaters. (The return of Mike and Sully -- the lovable characters from Pixar's Monsters Inc. -- opened with $82.4 million at the U.S. gate.)
Will Man of Steel regain box office momentum this weekend? Maybe. For investors, what matters is that Snyder and Goyer have introduced a version of Superman that is materially different from what watchers of the earlier movies and old TV shows will remember. Think of it as an all-in bet on the future of Warner's oldest and perhaps most vital brand, Tim says.
Do you like the new Superman? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take on Time Warner's strategy, and then let us know whether you saw Man of Steel, and if so, what you thought of the film.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Walt Disney and Time Warner at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.
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